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Birman

Soft, tolerant, sociable and loyal.

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Origins of the Birman

Mythological Origins

A popular story associated with novelist Marcelle Adam describes how the Birman got its colors and unique markings. According to legend, a long time ago in Burma, an old priest and his white cat named Sinh were living in a temple dedicated to a golden goddess with sapphire eyes. One day, the temple was invaded, and the priest was murdered by the assailants. Sinh jumped on the head of its master while looking in the eyes of the goddess. Its eyes then became sapphire blue like those of the goddess, and its fur became covered with a golden hue, except for its feet which, as they were put on the head of its master, remained white, as its hair had originally been. It is also said that the white color of the feet of the Birman are a symbol of purity for its devotion.

A few days later, Sinh died of grief and the whole feline population of the kingdom underwent the same metamorphosis, becoming the first representatives of the sacred race of Burma.

Another legend tells that the Birman were stolen from the temple of Lao Tsun in Burma, and that a first couple of these cats were reported in France by an American millionaire in 1920. The male allegedly died during the trip, but the female, Sita, gave birth to a litter of kittens, including a female named Poupée Madalpour. Although this cat really existed, we do not know its ancestry for certain.

Historical Origins

Birman

Although we know that most modern Birmans have their origins in England, Australia and Germany, their history is highly obscure. The first historical record of the Burmese Sacred is attributed to Mrs. Léotardi in the city of Nice. The most commonly-held belief is that the Birman was created in France in 1920 through the unexpected results of a coupling between a white-gloved Siamese and a Persian. This crossbreed was then reproduced in the United States with an ungloved Siamese, which gave birth to the Himalayan, a cat whose characteristics are similar to those of the Birman.

However, none of these theories explain why Doctor Jumaud, veterinarian and future founder of the first French feline club, mentioned the Birman in his graduating thesis a few years before the first reference to Poupée Madalpour. At that time, Doctor Jumaud stated that he had seen the cat in Asia.

During World War II, the Birman became almost extinct, and only two of its representatives still existed in Europe. Named Orloff and Kaabaa, these two cats gave birth to a litter from which the breed was founded after the war. Through the hard work of some breeders, crosses with longhaired breeds of cats such as the Persian and Siamese were made in order to recover the morphology of the pre-war Birman. Other attempts at Persian-Siamese crossbreeds resulted in ungloved cats commonly called “colorpoints.”

The Birman was recognized for the first time by the French feline club in 1925. The breed was officially renamed Birman in order to avoid confusion between it and the Burmese. The Birman is used in the development of new breeds, including the Ragdoll.

Characteristics of the Birman

blue eyed Birman

The Birman is known for its hypoallergenic qualities! It is an excellent alternative for those who wish to adopt an animal but are allergic to cats.

A temperament resulting from crossbreeding

This cat with mysterious origins has behavioural traits common to all of the countries from which it draws its history: a penchant for drama from the French; a loving and nurturing nature from the Irish, an English tendency for dignity and reserve; the patience and pragmatism of the Germans; and the adventurous spirit of Australia. 
Add a touch of ingenuity from the United States, and you get a Birman.

An ideal pet

The Birman is generally relatively quiet, refined and peaceful in nature, with a soft voice reminiscent of the chirping of a bird. It is a helpful animal that will love to “help” you in your daily activities, either when you are cleaning up at home or reading the newspaper. Whatever you do, it is always ready to support you. You will never be alone with a Birman at home.

Because of its exceptional softness, the Birman is both easygoing and obedient. Sociable, calm, and tender, it likes being with humans just as much as with other animals. It is a playful cat who loves to be the center of attention. Its even and tolerant attitude makes it an excellent choice for families with children and/or other animals.

Pictures of Birman

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Physical Characteristics of the Birman

General Appearance of the Birman

The Birman is a vigorous and healthy cat that reaches its full maturity at age 3. With an imposing appearance, it is a cat with medium-long hair, of average to large size, and with heavy bone density relative to its size.

Like all colorpoints, Birman kittens are born white and develop their colors as they grow.

HEAD

  • Skull: of medium size, the head is broad with rounded contours.
  • Cheeks: full.
  • Forehead: slightly rounded.
  • Profile: the line of the profile is extended by a slightly concave change of direction towards the eyes.
  • Stop: none.
  • Nose: Roman (aquiline)
  • Muzzle: of medium length, broad, without clip.
  • Chin: strong.
  • Eyes: large, almost round, they are well-separated from each other and have a very intense blue color.
  • Ears: Of medium size, almost as wide as they are high, separated by the width of one ear, they have a rounded tip. The interior is nicely furnished.

BODY

The Birman has a long, powerful and massive body with a straight and regular back.

  • Neck: of medium height, well-muscled
  • Legs: moderately high, with strong bones and strong muscles
  • Feet: large, round and firm
  • Tail: of medium size, its size should be proportional to the body.

PHYSICAL DEFECTS

  • Major rising by the white of the feet or, conversely, an insufficient whiteness in the gloves.
  • White markings on the throat or the stomach.
  • "Siamese", "British" or "Persian" head types.
  • Straight nose.
  • Colored spots in the feet
  • Lack of substance, fine bone structure.
  • Lack of white (in one finger or more) in the parts supposed to be gloved.
  • White markings in the tips.
Birman face

When she meows, the sound of her voice is delicate and light, like a bell.

Lola

Coat, Color and Maintenance of the Birman

Coat of the Birman

Of medium length, the Birman’s fur is very silky. Short on the surface, it gradually extends from its cheeks to its neck. The fur is long on its back and flanks. Its undercoat is scarce and light. The hair may frizz slightly on its belly.

Its front and back legs have white gloves ending in a straight line, ideally at the junction between the foot and the leg. The hind legs have white gloves, which rise at the back of the foot to taper off at three quarters of the length of the heel.

Color of the Birman

Although the golden coat with blue dots is the most famous, the Birman comes in a rainbow of colors: sky blue, lilac, chocolate, cream, turtle, etc. Its beautiful White legs are a unique feature of the breed.

Care for the Birman

The length of the coat varies seasonally. Since the Birman only has a fluffy overcoat, it is not subject to molting. Brushing once a week is sufficient.

light coat Birman

The Birman should not be confused with the Himalayan, which has similar physical characteristics.

Size and weight of the Birman

Size: 40 cm at the withers
Weight: 5 to 11kg

Health

The Birman is one of the healthiest breeds of cats, with virtually no reported health problems.

A cat for children?

Its even and tolerant temperament makes it an excellent choice for families with children and/or other animals.

Is the Birman easy to live with?

With its exceptional softness, the Birman is easygoing and obedient.

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